Issue of November 23, 2014
Mt. Province

Baguio Day Anniversary Issue
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Benguet at 114: From shy to shining model province

As Benguet turns a new leaf in celebration of its 114th foundation anniversary, it is but fitting to commend the officialdom of the province and its people for being resilient and vibrant amid the tests of time.

The foundation anniversary commemoration, coupled with the 10th Adivay, is an event to give cheers to this show of resilience by the people and their preparedness for the challenges to come.

At the moment, the province is bracing to compete with the nine other ASEAN-member countries in the fields of agriculture, commerce, trade, and tourism as the ASEAN integration comes in full swing next year.

Tagged as the country’s “Salad Bowl Capital,” the province is confident that it can withstand the entry of vegetables under the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA).

The province is among the few LGUs in the country preparing its constituents, especially the most vulnerable sectors like the farmers, who will be greatly affected – good or bad – once the AFTA takes effect. Training for better quality yield with lower costs is among the thrusts of agricultural programs now.

Havoc on vegetable farms and lives is not new to Benguet, but starting anew and recovering the vibrancy of the vegetable industry is also innate among the Benguet people.

An example is the devastation wrought by the fury of Typhoon Pepeng in 2009, the worst disaster to ever hit the province, clearing fields of crops and claiming countless lives. But intense recovery projects were undertaken and in no time, Benguet and its people were back on their feet.

Three years after Typhoon Pepeng, Benguet emerged as a model among all 77 provinces nationwide by topping the 2012-2013 Philippine Human Development Index report, which measures the gains of provinces in terms of income, literacy, and life expectancy.

Despite the animosity among key leaders in the province, we commend how the executive and legislative branches complement each other in delivering the best service the government has to offer to its residents especially those in the remote areas.

The congressional district has been aggressive in sourcing funds for major and infrastructure projects crucial to communities while the Capitol continues to sustain the delivery of basic services that improve health services, literacy, income of farmers, among others.

As one of its leaders put it: “Benguet has become the envy of her neighbors today while it remains committed to be a role model to other LGUs.”

Also notable is that much of the assets credited to Baguio can also be attributed to the immense contributions of the province in terms of education, trade, commerce, and tourism.

Baguio owes Benguet for the success of the Panagbenga Festival by providing tons of flowers from the varieties grown in the province making the annual event distinct from any other festivals in the entire archipelago. Of late, performers from the province made the festival’s grand street dancing more exciting than before.

Still, Benguet remains a silent achiever, not keen on loudly making its claim to fame, as it remains humble or simply the “shy mango” – typical of one of its indigenous people’s groups, the Ibaloys.

All told, other LGUs must learn and adopt the best practices of Benguet if only to improve the lives of their constituents, especially the impoverished sectors.

Congratulations to the officialdom and people of Benguet on the occasion of the twin celebrations.

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